Image used for illustrative purpose only. Courtesy Wood Mackenzie
2 minutes read

Pemex commits $680 million to explore deepwater Perdido region

 Pemex has committed to a $680-million exploration program in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico in the Perdido foldbelt region, according to a recent Platts report.

The area has been neglected over the past few years following a presidential mandate to focus on shallow-water and onshore deposits.

The exploration, planned for late 2025 and 2026 when Mexico will have a new president, comes as private companies operating in the same region of the country are increasingly abandoning their own blocks.

In its weekly meeting on Feb. 27, the National Hydrocarbons Commission approved Pemex’s request to modify its exploration programs for seven blocks located in Perdido, only a few miles from the marine border with the United States.

Pemex requested the modification as it has now decided it will drill at least one exploration well in each of the blocks, while it did not plan wells for all of them before, the CNH was reported to have said. Pemex drilled 28 exploration wells from 2012 to 2019 in the area.

Upon taking office in December 2018, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador instructed Pemex to focus on shallow-water and onshore deposits to keep production flowing. Deepwater and unconventional deposits have been removed from the Pemex portfolio, although most of the prospective resources are located there.

Pemex has identified more than two billion barrels of oil equivalent in the Perdido region, which is over 6,000 square kilometers wide, according to CNH.

The blocks are adjacent to Trion, the only ultra-deepwater project in the country, which is expected to start production in 2028. Australia’s Woodside Energy is currently developing the project in a joint venture with Pemex. At its peak, Trion is expected to yield a little over 100,000 b/d, becoming one of the largest contributors to national production.

The decision to explore deepwater deposits comes as private companies operating in the same region of the country are increasingly abandoning their own blocks. Companies in the Perdido region and other Mexican deepwater blocks have been renouncing their exploration rights, arguing that the amount of resources found is too low for the level of investment needed. Companies that have renounced rights to their blocks include Vista Oil & Gas, Shell, CNOOC, Chevron, Repsol, and Petronas.

Roughly 70% of the deepwater blocks that were auctioned during 2015-2017 have been returned, according to S&P Global Commodity Insights estimates.

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